Your Shape Review

Your Shape Challenge Update

I’ve been part of the Your Shape Challenge for the past eight weeks, and while I’ve mentioned the game a lot and talked about a few different aspects of it, I haven’t really done a full review, so the people running the challenge have asked me to do one.

First of all, I should mention that since the challenge started, I’ve lost ten pounds.  At this point that’s two pounds more than my goal, which was to lose one pound a week.  And of course I can’t attribute all that to the  Your Shape game – I’ve been eating 1,500 calories or less whenever I can manage it (I’d say that was roughly five out of the eight weeks), drinking more non-carbonated liquids (that would be watered-down Crystal Light, averaging about 24 ounces a day) and just generally trying to be more active.  But on top of that, I’ve been exercising with Your Shape two or three times a week (except during those three weeks when I wasn’t eating well – see how that works?!?).  I feel stronger, and with the weather getting warmer I’m also going to incorporate some jogging into my routine in addition to Your Shape.  All of those things together have combined into a pretty smooth and painless ten pound loss.  I haven’t done anything at all drastic, I haven’t been at all miserable, and I’m fitting very comfortably into my size 14 pants – a couple of them are even too big.  That’s been the great thing about this challenge: the people running it never said “Go use the Your Shape game twelve times a week and then tell us how much weight you’ve lost.”  They understand that it’s part of some over-all changes that are helpful for losing weight.

The Your Shape Game

Your ShapeSo, the game itself: to recap, there’s a little camera that sits either on top or at the bottom of your TV and connects to your Wii, and that camera shows you onscreen in the Your Shape game.  You’re on the right side of the screen, and a Jenny McCarthy avatar is on left, talking to you and showing you what to do.  The goal is to mimic what she’s doing.  It’s not a good idea to stare at yourself in the game for two reasons: #1, there’s a tiny bit of lag between what you’re doing and what you see on the screen, which will mess you up.  And #2, you’ve really got to watch Jenny.  So why have the camera at all?  That also has two reasons: #1, you can see if you’re doing what you should be doing: getting your legs up high enough, getting your arms straight enough, etc.  In fact, I discovered pretty early on that if I thought my arms were straight out, they were actually hanging down a surprising amount.

Reason #2 for the camera is the whole point of this game: it tells you how well you’re keeping up with Jenny, and  you don’t have to hold anything or strap anything to your body.  The camera just reads it.  It took me a few tries to get it positioned right.  I started out with it at the top of my TV, and that was no good – it was telling me that I was only doing the exercises about 50% right, and I knew I was doing better than that.  Then I moved it below the TV, and it got a lot more accurate.  Finally I got it positioned just right at the very front of my TV shelf, and it reads me really really well – I’m consistently between 80 and 90%.  If it’s telling me that I’m doing an exercise 85% right and I concentrate on getting my arms up a little higher, I watch the % tick up a few numbers.  If I try to slack off a little, I get almost instant feedback telling me that I need to focus.  It’s like having an aerobics instructor in front of you, except you don’t have to put on a perky spandex outfit and leave your house.

The one thing that the camera doesn’t read so well is the floor exercise portion.  My % score usually drops by about ten as soon as the workout moves to the floor.  But, like that five pound weight gain that I get every single month when I have my period, I just expect it and ignore it.  The other problem with the floor exercises is that often you’re supposed to have your head down, or even turned away from the TV, and Jenny does not do a good job telling you that you need to change sides or do the next rep.  For the next version of the game I think the designers really need to focus on those exercises that need more audio cues, and have Jenny count you down and tell you to change sides and all that, every time.  This is never a problem with the standing exercises though, only the floor exercises.

My favorite part of the whole thing is that you get to choose which muscle group you really want to work on, and then get to further choose between burn, strengthen, or tone.  I mean, all of your muscles are going to get some kind of work out, but if you choose abs, expect a lot of crunches and double leg lifts.  If you choose legs, you get less floor work and more jumping.  And if you own hand weights, a balance ball, or an aerobic stepper platform, the game will incorporate those into your routine as well.  Whatever I choose, there’s good variety and after eight weeks I’m not at all tired of the exercises.  There are muscle groups I’ve never chosen, so I’m sure there are a lot more exercises for me to explore.

The workouts that I’m getting are intense.  I almost always do a 30 minute routine, and the first 20 minutes just kill me – constant movement.  After that it slows down a bit, with some floor work and more breaks.  At the end I’m always sweaty, a little out of breath, and tired – just what I want from a workout.  I never felt that tired after a workout DVD, and I realize now it’s because I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough.  It’s so easy to slack of when nobody’s telling you that you are.  As hard as I’m working, though, one small thing on the game that just seems wrong is the calorie counter.  It will tell you how many calories you’ve burned, but it will lie.  Monday, for example, I did a 30 minute burn routine focusing on legs.  It was intense, and I absolutely got a great workout.  But there’s no way that I burned over 600 calories in 30 minutes.  I would only burn half of that jogging.  So until they fix that equation, ignore it.

There are other parts of the game that I don’t really use.  For example, there are challenges that can get you ready for a bathing suit, a New Year’s resolution plan, and a de-stressing challenge that’s basically yoga.  My daughter loves to do that one.  I set her up with her own profile so that she would stop messing with mine, and she’ll do yoga for an hour at a time.

To sum up, I would definitely recommend this game for anyone wanting a tiring routine with lots of variety.  You’ve got the freedom to move around without holding a controller, and the added motivation of seeing yourself on camera.  It’s helped me get stronger and smaller during the coldest part of winter, a time when I usually wouldn’t be getting any purposeful exercise at all.

Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has Compensation Levels of 1 & 8. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information. Amy also blogs at Filming In Brooklyn, Behind the Screen, and the NYC Moms Blog.

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